Haymarket big winner at 2015 Saltire Civil Engineering Awards

The £25 million redevelopment of Haymarket station was recognised at the Edinburgh event.
Haymarket Station's bright interiorHaymarket Station's bright interior
Haymarket Station's bright interior

Extending the A-listed complex while trying to not to disrupt the thousands of passengers passing through the doors every day was a challenge.

But the engineers behind the project managed to do just that – while bringing the completion date forward by a year.

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Their innovative methods – such as the creation of the new concourse building nearby before lifting it into place overnight – have now been recognised with a national award.

Haymarket was named the overall winner of the 2015 Saltire Civil Engineering Awards at a ceremony at the National Museum of Scotland last night. Among four other projects commended at the prestigious event was the new Borders Railway between Edinburgh and Tweedbank, which officially opened to the public last month.

The accolade, from the Saltire Society and the Institution of Civil Engineers Scotland, recognises excellence and innovation in civil engineering.

Haymarket was redeveloped to accommodate a predicted six million increase in passenger numbers over the next 15 years.

The Saltire assessors’ panel chose Haymarket as the winning project as engineers “demonstrated excellent collaborative working on a live and complex site”.

The concourse bridging the platforms and rail lines at Haymarket was created in a car park adjacent to the station and required two 110 tonne modules to be lifted into place.

The painstaking work was carried out while the station was fully operational, with no disruption to train services. Careful planning and the specialist works to put the concourse in place allowed the completion date to be brought forward by nearly a year.

Panel chairman Gordon Pomphrey said: “That it was delivered safely without disruption to services or passengers is a credit to the team involved.”

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Derek Mackay, the transport minister, said: “The Saltire Civil Engineering Awards represent an opportunity to celebrate civil engineering at its best. I am delighted for the project team behind the Haymarket Station Capacity Improvement Programme, just one element of the Edinburgh Glasgow Improvement Programme funded by the Scottish Government.”

The city’s transport leader, Councillor Lesley Hinds, said the challenge of keeping Haymarket open while such major works were undertaken could not be downplayed.

She said: “The difference is amazing. The changes coming into Haymarket, in terms of the openness of it, it’s a much better experience. It’s also better for people with disabilities. It’s a great asset for the community as numbers grow and grow. It’s been a good investment in public transport.”

Rob McIntosh, regional director of Network Rail, said: “12,000 passengers and 800 trains pass through Haymarket every day and the team did everything in its power to ensure that this complex project was delivered with minimal disruption and fuss. We are absolutely delighted for the project team involved in the redevelopment of Haymarket station and I applaud them for their collaborative approach throughout.”

The panel concluded that the new Borders Railway line – which includes seven new stations and required the regeneration of 95 bridges – displayed an “exceptional commitment” between stakeholders.

The £294m track, which takes passengers from Edinburgh through Midlothian to Tweedbank in the Scottish Borders, is the longest new domestic railway to be built in the UK for more than a century.

The route – part of the former Waverley line which fell foul of the Beeching cuts in 1969 – was re-established following a long campaign by enthusiasts.

It has been hailed as an important boost for tourism and the local economy, while also encouraging commuters
to take public transport. Judges said: “The project demonstrated an exceptional commitment to collaboration, co-ordination and communication with its stakeholders to deliver the longest new domestic railway in Britain for more than a century. The social, economic and environmental benefits the completed project will bring to the area it serves will be of great significance.”

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Seventeen entries were received for the Saltire Civil Engineering Awards this year, with one overall winner and four commendations.

Alongside the Borders Railway, three other projects were commended – the Ullapool Harbour improvements, the redevelopment of Hampden Park for the Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games and a flood alleviation scheme in Inverness.

Jim Tough, executive director of the Saltire Society said: “Civil engineering affects so many aspects of our daily life from how we heat and bring water to our homes and protect them from flooding, through to how we travel from A to B – and as such merit recognition and discussion.”